Summary: A sermon for Columbus Day on Faith, Hope, Love and Persecution.
Sermon for 10/9/2005
A. October 12, Wednesday, is Columbus Day. It is the day that he landed in America. We celebrate it tomorrow so that those who work government or bank jobs can have a long weekend.
B. Many of us know, In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
A. I have always wanted to do a sermon on Columbus. This evening, I am brave (or foolish) enough to do it.
B. There was a lot of observances for Columbus Day in 1992, the 500th year of Columbus landing in America. Really there are few observances for Columbus Day on a regular year except among the Italian population.
C. Around 1892, the 400th year of Columbus landing in America, a monument to the memory of Columbus, was erected in his native city of Genoa, Italy, in the centre of one of its public squares, where it is surrounded by flowers and shrubbery. It is composed of marble, and is about forty feet in height. On four panels between four pedestals on the bottom of this monument, in sculpture, are four great events in Columbus’s life.
D. We will talk about these four great events this morning from the life of Columbus and these four symbolize four things in the life of every Christian.
Thesis: This evening let us talk about faith, hope, love and persecution.
A. Christopher Columbus was born in 1451. He was born in the city of Genoa, Italy, where his father was a wool weaver. Today, Genoa is Italy’s largest port and it was a large port in Columbus’s day too.
B. The sea life fascinated Columbus. He didn’t follow his father’s footsteps but went out to sea at the age of 13.
C. When he was 25, Columbus set out for Holland and Britain on a trading mission. Once they had sailed through the straits of Gibraltar, Columbus saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. Then tragedy struck. The fleet was attacked by pirates. All of the ships sank including the pirates in the battle that followed. Many men were killed or drowned but Columbus survived. Hanging on to an oar, he managed to swim to the coast of Portugal, six miles away.
D. Columbus was to stay in Portugal for 8 years. His brother Bartholomew joined him there. Together they set up a chart-making business in the capital city of Portugal, Lisbon. While Columbus was there, he married Felipa Perestrello. She came from a noble family that had fallen on hard times. After 5 years of marriage, Felipa died. Even though they were poor, Felipa and her family were friends with many noble families. This would be important in the future because it gave Christopher a chance to talk about his great idea with people who could bring it to pass.
E. While in Portugal, Columbus came up with the idea of sailing directly across the Atlantic Ocean to the Indies (meaning China, Japan and India). IF the world was round, as the experts said, then one must be able to travel around it and come back home again. In the Middle Ages all sorts of luxury goods came by camel overland from the Far East. The journey was very long and hazardous so countries in Europe were looking for an easier route.
F. Columbus wrote in the margin of one of his books: “Between the edge of Spain and the beginning of India, the sea is short and can be crossed in a matter of days.” He was sure that the voyage could be made and he was quite prepared to embark on it. He calculated the journey to Japan was 3,000 miles- in fact, Japan was 12,000 miles away. Also, unknown to the people of Europe, there was a land mass in the way and another sea, the Pacific Ocean.
G. IN Columbus’s day there were many parts of the world which no one knew about. Most people considered his great idea quite crazy, and thought Columbus was a little soft in the head. Considering that sailors in that day did not take off across open water unless they had a map, most people did not support his idea. Sailors took comfort in knowing that they were near land.
H. From the age of 33, Columbus went all over Europe trying to get someone to fund and support his idea. He first went to the King of Portugal, but the Portuguese had another idea of going around Africa to the Indies. His idea was not accepted there.
I. He moved from Portugal to Seville, Spain in hopes of persuading the new King and Queen of Spain to support his idea. In that time there were three kingdoms that made up modern day Spain. One was ruled by King Ferdinand and the other by Queen Isabella. Ferdinand and Isabella got married and so the two kingdoms united. They joined forces and declared war on the third Kingdom, the Moors to the South. There goal was to make Spain one Christian nation. The Moors were Muslims and the plan was to drive them over the Straits of Gibraltar back into Africa. But they needed funding and they were looking for ways to raise money. Columbus talked with them many times trying to persuade them to support his voyage. He said that if they supported him that he would bring back gold and jewels and riches beyond imagination. However, this was not enough to convince them.